Moving is always a hassle. You never realize how much stuff you’ve accumulated over the years until you have to put it all in boxes. On top of that, you have to give everyone your new address, have your mail forwarded, switch over your utilities—the list goes on and on. For many people – including many Medicare enrollees – securing new health insurance coverage is another complication that comes with moving.
Why Seniors Move
Like younger adults, seniors may want to move closer to family, or they may simply decide they’re ready for a change of pace. But seniors can also have reasons unique reasons for moving.
Seniors may decide to downsize, or they may move into a place that offers assisted living services. Seniors may also move because they’re looking for a good place to retire. The cost of living can vary greatly from city to city and state to state, and how states tax Social Security benefits also varies. And once retirees no longer need to worry about living in a place where they can find job opportunities, they may decide that they no longer want to live in the same place.
Whatever the reason, when seniors make a big move, they may not be able to keep their insurance.
How Moving Impacts Medicare Coverage
Original Medicare is a national insurance program, and enrollees can live anywhere in the country. However, Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) are all offered by private insurance companies, and availability can vary from state to state and even within states. When enrollees move out of their plan’s service area, their insurance can be impacted.
Because Medigap plans are standardized in the same way in most states, enrollees who move may be able to keep their coverage. However, it’s possible that their costs might change. With Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage, it may be necessary to switch to a completely different plan.
Beneficiaries who don’t select a new plan may be switched to Original Medicare whether or not that’s what they want. According to CMS, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and you are disenrolled because you moved out of the coverage area, you will be enrolled in Original Medicare if you don’t select another Medicare Advantage plan during the time provided.
Steps to Take When Moving
If your clients are moving, remind them to take the following steps.
- Notify the insurance carrier. Even if they’re staying in the plan’s service area, they’ll want to make sure the insurer has their current information.
- Ask the insurance carrier if their coverage will be valid at the new location. If it’s not, they’ll have to switch plans.
- Find out if they’ll have any new plan options. Even if their current plan is still valid, they may be able to use a Special Enrollment Period to switch to a new plan after they move if there are additional options available.
- Consider their options carefully. If they notify their insurer about the move before their move date, their Special Enrollment Period will begin the month before they move and continue for two full months after they move. If they notify their insurer after they move, their Special Enrollment Period will begin the month their notify their insurer and continue for two full months.
Welcome New Residents
In addition to helping your own clients when they’re moving, be on the lookout for prospects who have recently moved to your area. These individuals may need help with their Medicare selections.
You can target them through direct mail, as well as your social media and website presence. Also network with other professionals who may be in a position to share your business card with recently relocated seniors.
Contact us if you need any assistance.